I’ve had a keen interest in the Ibanez AZ Essentials line of guitars that was released in 2022. A very classic Stratocaster style Ibanez range of guitars, in an affordable price range really got me excited, and the additions of things such as the alter switch, and a slightly shorter scale length of 25″ made them a little special when viewed alongside the other Strat style options out there. I definitely wasn’t in a real position to buy myself one though, but my friend Scott from Jemsite was kind enough to review his AZES31 models, which I shared on my blog last year.
Well, was I in for a surprise this Christmas just past! My most incredible wife had stored in her memory banks that I was really keen to try out the AZ Essentials guitars, and decided to surprise me with one for Christmas! I was set up first, with a range of fake presents to mess with me first of all, and then was given a bunch of riddles that I had to solve, to then discover the next riddle around my home. Once I had gotten several of them I was then presented with a brand spanking new Ibanez AZES31 in Ivory!
I was quite overwhelmed by the gift, but super excited to finally play one. The guitar played pretty nicely out of the box, but needed some adjustments after sitting, hiding under a bed in our spare room for several months. And other than a fretboard that needed some conditioning badly, some frets that need a polish, and a couple screws that could have been aligned a little better when installing the pickguard and bridge. All in all, it’s all simple stuff to remedy, so I’ll take care of it soon.
I’m really impressed with the components used on the AZ Essentials line. The bent steel saddles are nice and ergonomic (plus steel is a bonus!), all switches and pots feel solid, and the tuners seem to be holding tune quite well so far. The mono-unit output jack seems like a great idea, and hopefully it will be shown to hold up for years to come.
When it comes to modifications, which is always something I end up doing with guitars, there are a few ideas I’m already considering, but probably not as many as I’ve done on my Squier Stratocasters, for example. I’ll definitely be posting my own review of the guitar, and of course, any progress with changes to the guitar.